Nan has been a lot chirpier since I have started implementing some of the techniques I learnt from the workshop. Except for today, I felt poorly and spent most of the day asleep and consequently nan spent most of it stropping as she had no one to talk to.
However last Saturday nan had been complaining of lower back ache, this is nothing out of the ordinary so we sorted her meds out and she carried on regardless. By the early evening however the pain had spread to her neck and I had become concerned. Nan has never been one to voice her discomfort but when she mentioned to my mum during the evening phone call she was in agony, mum prompted me to take action. I have to admit I had been putting off calling the doctor, for fear they would take her to the hospital. Nan hates hospitals and I didn’t want her to hate me. Stupid logic really, thinking back on it. If I hadn’t called the doctor she may have got worse and would have definitely gone to hospital!
So I called the out of hours doctor, completely forgetting they don’t have out of hours anymore. You have to call 111. So I rang 111, the girl on the phone could possibly have been a new trainee, as I could almost hear her following a flow chart of symptoms. I told her I was concerned for my nan’s kidneys, as they have been a problem before. The girl asked about nan’s temperature, I said she was cold. And then RED ALERT!!! The girl told me she was going to call an ambulance as it could be nan’s heart. Errrrm, I know I’m not a qualified doctor but I’m pretty sure even with dementia my nan knows where her heart is. The girl then informed me she could not find the number for the ambulance (?!) so could I ring 999? Oh wait, never mind she’s found the number, the ambulance will be with us in 8 minutes, could we please be ready to go (what is this a holiday?)
As a side note I would like to point out I am not complaining, this girl may well have been new to the job, and she was very friendly.
A long 8 minutes later (I didn’t time them but it was at least less than half an hour) the ambulance people arrived, clearly expecting a heart attack victim. Still they checked my nan over, agreed it could be her kidneys and told her she would have to go to hospital. This is where my praise for the paramedics really kicks up. I had mentioned before they entered that nan has dementia. And they were perfect. Nan obviously told them there was no need for it, and they somehow convinced her it was a good idea (They must have magic Jedi mind powers). They did a few more checks in the ambulance and I met them at the hospital.
Nan was fine for the first, maybe 5 minutes. Then she got impatient, and naughty. She was singing why are we waiting. Asking me in a very loud voice if we were waiting for Christmas. And when could she go home? I told my mum about nans naughtiness and she said it must be my affect on nan, as whenever mum has had to take her to hospital she always becomes very quiet. Ooops.
Instead of the hospital writing us off as a paranoid relative and over dramatic elderly person (which for some reason I was expecting) they checked everything, ECG, bloods, urine everything. And not until they had had all the results back would they let us go. The staff regularly came to nan’s bed, despite how busy they were just to check she was feeling OK. They were gentle when pulling her up the bed, and taking bloods. They offered her an extra blanket. I would have appreciated a bit more knowledge about what was happening, but I understand they cannot give second by second updates. So no complaints.
All in all we were at the hospital just over 2 hours, we weren’t left in a corridor. It was clean. I saw the nurses wash their hands a million times. And I left with nothing bad to say about the NHS, as well as peace of mind that there were no underlying problems with nan.
Thankyou to the nurses and doctors at our local hospital, to the paramedics who really comforted nan, she couldn’t speak highly enough of any of you.
The following morning nan told me she had enjoyed her trip out. Which makes me glad that she may no longer be so scared of going to hospital. But also a little concerned that she may now try to go more frequently as it was so enjoyable.
Thankyou for reading